Leslie Neal-Boylan, PhD, APRN, CRRN, FAAN
& Michelle D. Miller, JD, MPH, RN
Purpose: The purpose of this legal case review and analysis was to determine what kinds of cases involving nurses with disabilities are typically brought to attorneys, which cases tend to be successful, and how and when a nurse with a disability should pursue legal action.
The review u sed the standard legal case analysis method to analyze legal cases that have been brought by registered nurses (RNs) with physical or sensory disabilities from 1995 to 2013. The cases span the period following the enactment of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 through the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) of 2008.
A nurse attorney reviewed the background material to find every case involving an RN with a disability, excluding those with mental health disabilities or substance abuse issues. Case analysis was conducted using standard legal case analysis procedures. Fifty-six cases were analyzed.
The cases were categorized into five types of legal claims: (a) disability discrimination (84%); (b) failure to accommodate (46%); (c) retaliation (12.5%); (d) association (3.6%); and (e) hostile work environment (7%). The cases were largely unsuccessful, particularly those brought under the ADA instead of the ADAAA.
The case analysis revealed that several cases brought by RNs with disabilities using the ADA might have been successful under the ADAAA. In addition, the case analysis has provided vital information for administrators, leaders, and clinical nurses regarding when a case is appropriate for legal action. These findings from this review will help nurses recognize when they are being treated in a discriminatory way in the workplace, what their legal rights and responsibilities are, and at what point they should pursue legal action.
This review has relevance to all RNs working in clinical and academic settings who may have a congenital or acquired physical or sensory disability.
Recently, I represented NHNA in a monthly American Nurses Association’s Nursing Practice & Work Environment (NP&WE) conference call. With the goal of “promoting the health, safety, and wellness of the nurse and the nursing profession,” this call served to educate and disseminate information of interest to nurses. ANA members included Marie Barry, MSN, Senior Policy Analyst; Holly Carpenter, Senior Staff Specialist; Jaime Dawson, MPH, Senior Policy Analyst and Ruth Francis, MPH, MCHES, Sr. Administrative Assistant. Current projects of the ANA NP&WE include HealthyNurseTM, Safe Patient Handling and Mobility, Fatigue, Safe Staffing and Care Coordination.
This is interesting research suggesting that many people are not able to perform effective CPR because of the amount of force required. This researcher is working on this with the hope that the American Heart Association will start teaching people to do compressions with their foot, which is more effective and less exhausting. His data might be useful to someone with a disability who has been told that they cannot be a nurse without being certified in CPR.
Here's a little more info if you're interested:
http://www.slicc.org/ReSS_2013_030.pdf Read More...